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are we supposed to say? recent reports show we're in conversations with the taliban who will never win an election in afghanistan but we can't talk to the muslim brotherhood? i'm not sure we have much choice. >> michael, let me come back to you on that point because i think the taliban situation where it has been articulated clearly by the u.s. government that we want to enter into negotiation with them, there's a report in the financial times today that details the number of meetings we have been having with them. there is a case where there is no democratic process but we are still negotiating with a terrorist organization. do you think that is wise policy or should we simply have an absolute rule we won't deal with organizations that we deem to be terrorists? >> no, i don't think we should have a hard and fast rule on anything, really. i think you have to take the world as it comes. we're talking to the taliban because the president and the republicans have decided to surrender there, and we're looking for a way out without getting embarrassed. the taliban will control that. so i do
they had the harboring government of the taliban? >> i couldn't agree more with michael. and i'd actually go a step further to say not only is he right that they have now expanded geographically and have multiple launch points for operations but if we step back and look at that map you'll see it lays over very nicely with what we're witnessing with the arab spring. we're also witnessing a dysfunctional nato operation both in afghanistan as well as in libya that leads to openings for al qaeda there. as michael points out, they in each one of those countries are seeing instability that can be exploited. and let's step back and look at what we learned from the bin laden treasure trove, which is essentially that al qaeda was much more centrally controlled than many in the intelligence community thought and i thought and many in the chertoff group. but what it shows is the old guard, what we'll call central a.q., al qaeda, was basically trying to force the young guard to follow their past performance, which is to do these long, multiyear planning attacks for very iconic operations with catastr
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